Jim and Pam’s relationship on The Office was a sweet element that helped the show blossom. In the show’s final season, the couple faces several challenges as Jim’s new job takes him away from his family in Scranton, and Pam confides in Brian, a camera man who has been filming the in-world documentary about the office.
But while the two work through their difficulties and stick together, the original plan was going to send them down a much rockier road. Collider is reporting that, according to Andy Greene’s new book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Jim and Pam were going to be split up during the season, before eventually reuniting in the finale.
The book says that Jim’s actor John Krasinski had raised the possibility of their characters going through a split to showrunner Greg Daniels before the filming of the final season, but the DNA of this idea goes back much further. One of the show’s writers, Warren Lieberstein, remembers the idea being floated during a meeting around Season 5. “I think Mindy [Kaling] was the first or one of the first champions of it,” he said. “The idea was to introduce some romantic triangle with Jim when they were such soul mates that you had to say, ‘How could she possibly be interested in somebody else?'”
This eventually turned into the Brian plot in the final season, as that plan made the most sense: “What if that character had been secretly there the entire time and predated the relationship with Jim and had been a shoulder that she cried on for years?,” as Lieberstein puts it.
Writer Brent Forrester says that this plan did not go far, though, as they realized that it would be too hard on the fans that had stuck with them for so long. He recalls that Krasinski had said as much to him: “Brent, this final season is for the ultra fans of the show. They’re the only ones really still left watching, right? This is for them. Jim and Pam splitting up is too painful for them to sustain all the way to the reunion. We have to get them back together immediately.”
Fan reactions towards Brian and the marital problems that were worked into the plot were largely negative, and so it was decided that Jim and Pam would not split up before reconciling in the finale.
Another major reveal from the book is that Steve Carell likely would have stuck around for longer if anyone on the production side had asked him to. A reboot of The Office is reportedly being planned, although nothing concrete has been announced yet–unlike the Friends reunion that is happening on HBO Max.
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